Friday, August 07, 2020

Custer and the Inadequate Seventh Cavalry


Sioux representation of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

In his book, A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - the Last Great Battle of the American West, James Donovan details some of the glaring inadequacies of the Seventh Cavalry as a fighting force at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  Donovan states that the relative merits of Custer’s, Reno’s and Benteen’s military judgments cannot be properly understood without an understanding of these inadequacies. 

The frontier army was small, ill-trained and badly equipped by a miserly Congress. The quality of the troops was appalling, “only the malingerers, the bounty-jumpers, the draft-sneaks and the worthless remained” in the army after the Civil War.  “These, with the scum of the cities and frontier settlements, constituted more than half the rank and file on the plains.” (Donovan, 37)  Donovan continues, “Training in marksmanship, horsemanship, skirmishing, any practical lessons that Indian fighting might actually involve, was virtually nonexistent.  Formal military training of recruits consisted mostly of elementary drill aimed at making a grand appearance at dress parade.” (Donovan, 121)

On June 25, 1876, the actual day of battle, the five companies that Custer took with him to personally administer the coup de grace to the Sioux were inadequately led.  “Company C was led by Second Lieutenant Henry Harrington, who had no combat experience…. F Company was led by Second Lieutenant William Van Wyck Reily, who had been in the army less than eight months and had only recently mastered the fundamentals of horsemanship.” Donovan continues, “Of the thirty sergeants authorized to the five companies, fully half were absent, either with the pack train or on detached duty.” (Donovan, 218-219)

Custer over-estimated the offensive capabilities of the Seventh Cavalry.  When Custer finally viewed the village in its vastness, the view revealed the daunting size of the task required for victory, “…on the other side of the river were thousands of Indians, probably women, children, and older men, streaming into the hills and ravines….Custer had corralled only fifty-three of them on the Washita….” (Donovan, 267)









Since his death along the bluffs overlooking the Little Bighorn River, in Montana, on June 25, 1876, over five hundred books have been written about the life and career of George Armstrong Custer. Views of Custer have changed over succeeding generations. Custer has been portrayed as a callous egotist, a bungling egomaniac, a genocidal war criminal, and the puppet of faceless forces. For almost one hundred and fifty years, Custer has been a Rorschach test of American social and personal values. Whatever else George Armstrong Custer may or may not have been, even in the twenty-first century, he remains the great lightning rod of American history. This book presents portraits of Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn as they have appeared in print over successive decades and in the process demonstrates the evolution of American values and priorities.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the Battle of the Little Bighorn



Captain Thomas Weir

In his book, A Terrible Glory:Custer and the Little Bighorn - the Last Great Battle of the American West, James Donovan details what are clearly manifestations of Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among the survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  The case of Captain Thomas Weir is illustrative.  Weir died less than six months after the battle, “rapidly destroying himself with alcohol (Weir) spent most of his days in a state of depression and nervous exhaustion.”  Donovan attributes Weir’s condition to “battle fatigue, the traumatic loss of so many close friends, the method of their destruction, (and) the slander of Custer’s good name….”(Donovan, 348)

Captain Thomas French appears to have suffered a similar fate.  In 1879 French was found guilty of three counts of drunkenness and one count of conduct unbecoming an officer.  He was suspended at half pay for a year.  In 1880, he was determined to be “mentally unfit and physically incapable to perform any military duties.”  He died two years later.  “Like Weir, his breakdown was likely brought on by ‘soldier’s heart,’ the era’s phrase for combat fatigue or shell shock.”(Donovan, 365) 







Tuesday, August 04, 2020

A Timeline of the Battle of the Little Bighorn


Custer's Last Battle

     William A. Graham published TheStory of the Little Big Horn: Custer's Last Fight, the first authoritative book on the battle of the Little Bighorn, in 1926.  Graham, a lawyer, was commissioned as a first lieutenant in 1912.  In 1919 Graham began a five year tour of duty with the office of the judge advocate in Washington, D.C.  It was during this period that he began to study the battle of the Little Bighorn.

      One of the interesting aspects of Graham’s book is that he effectively provides a timeline of the events of June 25, 1876.  (1) 12:07 PM, Custer divides his command, Benteen marches south; (2) 2:30 PM Reno crosses the river and commences offensive operations; (3) 3:00 PM Reno retreats to the timbers; (4) 4:00 PM Reno retreats to the bluffs; (5) 4:00 PM Benteen receives the “Come quick” order from Custer; (5) 4:30 PM Benteen joins Reno. Firing is heard downriver. Captain Weir marches to the sound of the guns; (5) 5:00 PM the last of the pack train joins Reno and Benteen; (6) 6:00 PM Reno and Benteen join Weir and are engaged by the Sioux; (7) 7:00 PM Reno and Benteen complete a fighting withdrawal and take up the command’s original defensive positions.







Sunday, August 02, 2020

A Survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn



Comanche

When General Alfred Terry and his column arrived at the Little Bighorn on June 27, 1876, George Armstrong Custer and over two hundred men of the Seventh Cavalry were dead on the field.  All of the horses that survived had been taken by the Indians, except the mount of Captain Myles Keogh, a medium sized brown horse named Comanche.

Comanche had been with the Seventh Cavalry since its organization in 1866.  Sergeant Milton J. DeLacey found the horse in a ravine where it had gone to die.  Comanche’s wounds were serious but not fatal if properly attended.  The horse had seven bullet wounds.  Four wounds back of the foureshoulder, one in the hoof, and one in each hind leg.

Comanche was transported to Fort Lincoln, North Dakota, where he was nursed back to health. . In April 1878, Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis issued the following order:
Headquarters Seventh United States Cavalry, Fort A. Lincoln, D. T., April 10th, 1878. General Orders No. 7.
(1.) The horse known as 'Comanche,' being the only living representative of the bloody tragedy of the Little Big Horn, June 25th, 1876, his kind treatment and comfort shall be a matter of special pride and solicitude on the part of every member of the Seventh Cavalry to the end that his life be preserved to the utmost limit. Wounded and scarred as he is, his very existence speaks in terms more eloquent than words, of the desperate struggle against overwhelming numbers of the hopeless conflict and the heroic manner in which all went down on that fatal day.
(2.) The commanding officer of Company I will see that a special and comfortable stable is fitted up for him, and he will not be ridden by any person whatsoever, under any circumstances, nor will he be put to any kind of work.
(3.) Hereafter, upon all occasions of ceremony of mounted regimental formation, 'Comanche,' saddled, bridled, and draped in mourning, and led by a mounted trooper of Company I, will be paraded with the regiment.

When Comanche died in 1890, a taxidermist from the University of Kansas Natural History Museum prepared the horse for permanent exhibit. Other than being exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Comanche has been on permanent exhibit, in a glass case, at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, wearing his cavalry blanket and saddle.







Friday, July 31, 2020

The First Custer Movie (1912)



Custer's Last Fight (1925 Version)

In 1912, Thomas Ince produced Custer’s Last Fight, the first film depiction of the events surrounding the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  Filmed at a cost of $30,000 in 1912 (which equates to some $80 million in today’s dollars), Custer’s Last Fight was, at that time, the most expensive motion picture ever made.

The film was billed as “The Most Colossal and Sensational War Picture in the Entire History of Motion Pictures”.  When the film was made, Custer was generally regarded as a great military leader who died a hero’s death on the battlefield.
Thomas Ince hired the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show to provide props and extras.  Miller Brothers employed numerous Native Americans as extras, including some who participated in the actual 1876 battle.

The 1912 three reel picture was refurbished in 1925 with additional footage that expanded the film to five reels.  The New York Motion Picture Company boasted that the film featured 1000 soldiers and 1000 Indians and that the film “…is a perfect reproduction of the most heroic incident in the nation’s history….”  The expanded version was released in 1926, the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  The 1925 version is the one most commonly seen today.







Sunday, July 26, 2020

Custer's Last Moments



 The Last Stand



   Six months after the battle of the Little Bighorn (June 25, 1876), Frederick Whittaker’s A Complete Life of General George A. Custer was published.  Whittaker’s book was a canonization which presented Custer as a dashing and brilliant military leader abandoned to his fate by lesser, disloyal, treacherous, and cowardly men.  Whittaker borrowed generously from Custer’s own book My Life on the Plains, as well as on his own imagination, which was fulsome, since Whittaker was a professional writer of nickel and dime novel fiction for a leading publisher.

The Indians met the men under Custer’s immediate command about six hundred yards east of the river.  The Indians drove the soldiers up the hill, and then made a circuit to the right around the hill and drove off or captured most of the horses.  The troops made a stand at the lower end of the hill, and there they were all killed.  Whittaker’s source is the New York Herald of October 6, 1876 which published the deposition that Kill Eagle, one of the hostiles, gave to Captain Johnston, Acting Indian Agent.

Citing an “officer of the general staff who examined the ground” as his source, Whittaker describes the Custer fight in detail.  Custer was driven back from an unsuccessful attempt to cross the stream to successive stands on higher ground.  Three quarters of a mile from the river Calhoun’s company is thrown across the line of retreat.  Whittaker (who perhaps had the powers of a psychic medium) puts these words into Custer's mouth, “The country needs; I give her a man who will do his duty to the death: I give them my first brother (First Lt. Calhoun was the husband of Custer’s only sister).  I leave my best loved sister a widow, that so the day may be saved.”


James Calhoun

Whittaker continues, “So they stood till the last man was down…and then came the friendly bullet that sent the soul of James Calhoun to an eternity of glory.  Let no man say that such a life was thrown away.  The spectacle of so much courage must have nerved the whole command to the heroic resistance it made.  Calhoun’s men would never have died where they did, in line, had Calhoun not been there to cheer them.  They would have been found in scattered groups, fleeing or huddled together, not fallen in their ranks, every man in his place, to the last.  Calhoun, with his forty men, had done on an open field, what Reno, with a hundred and forty, could not do defending a wood.  He had died like a hero, and America will remember him, while she remembers heroes.” (Whittaker, 597)


Whittaker continues, “…every man realized that it was his last fight, and was resolved to die game. Down they went, slaughtered in position, man after man dropping in his place, the survivors contracting their line to close the gaps. We read of such things in history, and call them exaggerations. The silent witness of those dead bodies of heroes in that mountain pass cannot lie. It tells plainer than words how they died, the Indians all around them, first pressing them from the river, then curling around Calhoun, now round Keogh, till the last stand on the hill by Custer, with three companies.” (Whittaker, 597-8)

Whittaker now turns to the testimony of one of the Indian scouts, Curly, who claimed to have escaped from the field of battle.  (In 1886, Gall, a war leader of the Hunkpapa Lakota, claimed that Curly knew nothing about Custer’s last moments, ”He ran away too soon in the fight”). 


Curly

 According to Whittaker, however, when Curly saw that the party with Custer was about to be overwhelmed, he begged Custer to let him show him a way to escape.  “…Custer looked at Curly, waved him away and rode back to the little group of men, to die with them.”  Why, Whittaker asks, did Custer go back to certain death?  “Because he felt that such a death as that which that little band of heroes was about to die, was worth the lives of all the general officers in the world….He weighed, in that brief moment of reflection, all the consequences to America of the lesson of life and the lesson of heroic death, and he chose death.” (Whittaker, 599-600)


Elizabeth Custer with President Taft

Whittaker’s biography of Custer molded the public’s perception of George Armstrong Custer for over fifty years, because it was endorsed and defended by Custer’s widow and her powerful friends and allies.  Elizabeth Custer was widowed at the age of thirty-four and spent the next fifty- seven years, until her death in 1933, glorifying and defending her husband’s reputation.  Only after her death did historians begin seriously re-examining the Custer legend.






Since his death along the bluffs overlooking the Little Bighorn River, in Montana, on June 25, 1876, over five hundred books have been written about the life and career of George Armstrong Custer. Views of Custer have changed over succeeding generations. Custer has been portrayed as a callous egotist, a bungling egomaniac, a genocidal war criminal, and the puppet of faceless forces. For almost one hundred and fifty years, Custer has been a Rorschach test of American social and personal values. Whatever else George Armstrong Custer may or may not have been, even in the twenty-first century, he remains the great lightning rod of American history. This book presents portraits of Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn as they have appeared in print over successive decades and in the process demonstrates the evolution of American values and priorities.




Success leaves clues. So does failure. Some of history’s best known commanders are remembered not for their brilliant victories but for their catastrophic blunders.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Paul Revere of the South (1781)


Jack Jouett

 In 1781 the British stepped up operations in the Southern theater of war.  Benedict Arnold and a British fleet ravaged the Tidewater of Virginia, burning cities, seizing crops, and destroying everything that they could find.  Later in the year Lord Cornwallis swept northward into Virginia and began to lay the country waste.  His only opposition was a small American force under the Frenchman Lafayette.

The Virginia General Assembly abandoned Williamsburg, Richmond and Petersburg, fleeing to Charlottesville.  The Virginians decided to assemble in mid-June.  The British hatched a plan to capture or kill the entire Virginia Assembly and Governor Thomas Jefferson in one lightning raid that would crush all opposition.  Lord Cornwallis chose the savage Banastre Tarleton and his battle hardened cavalry to do the job.


Banastre Tarleton

On the night of June 3, 1781, twenty-seven year old John “Jack” Jouett spotted Tarleton’s cavalry near Cuckoo Tavern in Louisa County.  Suspecting that the British were marching on Charlottesville, Jouett mounted his horse at 10 PM and began the forty mile ride to Charlottesville. Traveling only with the light of the moon, Jouett took rough backwoods trails, riding hard to out distance the British.

At 11:30 PM, Tarleton paused for a three-hour rest at Louisa Courthouse. The British resumed their march at about 2 AM, and soon encountered a train of thirteen Patriot supply wagons at Boswell's Tavern bound for South Carolina.  Tarleton burned the wagons and continued toward Charlottesville.

 At 4:30 AM, Jack Jouett ascended the mountain on which Jefferson's home Monticello sits.  An early riser, Thomas Jefferson was in the gardens at Monticello when Jouett arrived.  Jefferson fortified Jouett with a glass of Madeira and sent him on the two additional miles to warn the town of Charlottesville.

Jefferson did not rush to make an escape.  He had breakfast and spent two hours gathering up important papers, all the while checking the path up the mountain with his telescope for signs of the British.  When Jefferson finally spotted the British he mounted a horse and headed into the woods, successfully eluding capture.

Thanks to Jouett’s timely warning most of the Virginia legislators in Charlottesville also escaped capture.












Sunday, July 19, 2020

Elizabeth Custer and the Custer Myth



Libbie Custer

     Custer’s widow was left with large debts that her husband incurred speculating in the stock market.  Mrs. Elizabeth (“Libbie”) Custer eventually became financially comfortable based on her success as an author.  Her three books, Boots and Saddles(1885), Following the Guidon (1890), and Tenting on the Plains(1893) recount her life with Custer on the frontier. 

     Boots and Saddles covers the period leading up to the battle of the Little Bighorn, and paints a picture of domestic bliss, “An ineffaceable picture remains with me even now of those lovely camps, as we dreamily watched them by the fading light of the afternoon.” (E. Custer, 31).  Elizabeth Custer paints a human portrait of Custer as, “boyish”, as the soldier’s friend, and as a man devoted to his mother.  Elizabeth Custer was widowed at the age of thirty-four and spent the next fifty- seven years, until her death in 1933, glorifying and defending her husband’s reputation.  Only after her death did historians begin seriously re-examining the Custer legend.

     While Mrs. Custer does not directly address the events on the Little Bighorn in any of her books, she does mention the issue of the Indians being better armed, “We heard constantly at the Fort of the disaffection of the young Indians of the reservation, and of their joining the hostiles.  We knew, for we had seen for ourselves, how admirably they were equipped.  We even saw on a steamer touching at our landing its freight of Springfield rifles piled upon the decks en route for the Indians up the river.  There was unquestionable proof they came into the trading posts far above us and bought them, while our own brave 7th Cavalry troopers were sent out with only the short range carbines that grew foul after the second firing.”(E. Custer, 220)  Clearly, she believed that this was one of the reasons for the disaster.

















Sunday, June 21, 2020

Martha Washington: the First Lady of Fashion



Martha Washington


We don’t generally think of Martha Washington as a vivacious fashionista.  She has come down to us after two hundred plus years as a frumpy, dumpy, plump, double-chinned Old Mother Hubbard type.  There may be more design than accident in this portrayal of Martha Washington and the women of the Revolutionary War generation (‘The Founding Mothers”).  The new Republic needed to make a clean break with the aristocratic ways of Europe and completely embrace simple republican virtues.  Both George and Martha Washington were transformed by generations of historians into marble figures of rectitude whose dignity and decorum fostered a sense of legitimacy for the new country.

At the time of her marriage to George Washington in 1759, Martha was 27 and George was twenty six.  Martha was one of the wealthiest women in Virginia, having inherited five plantations when her first husband died.  She was a bit of a clothes horse.  Then, as now, if you had wealth you flaunted it, making sure you had the best clothes ordered from London in the deepest, richest colors.  Such colors set the upper classes apart from poorer classes who wore drab homespun clothes in browns, beiges and tans. A woman from a wealthy family in Virginia in the 1770s could have worn a silk gown from China, linen from Holland, and footwear from England.

Tucked away in the recesses of Mount Vernon’s archival vaults is a pair of avant-garde deep purple silk high heels studded with silver sequins that Martha wore on the day of her wedding to George Washington.  Emily Shapiro, curator at Mount Vernon, describes the shoes as a little sassy and definitely “Over the top for the time….”










Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The False Narrative: The Man Who Loved Custer




Custer


     Six months after the battle of the Little Bighorn (June 25, 1876), Frederick Whittaker’s A Complete Life of General George A. Custer was published.  Whittaker’s book was a canonization which presented Custer as a dashing and brilliant military leader abandoned to his fate by lesser, disloyal, treacherous, and cowardly men.  Whittaker borrowed generously from Custer’s own book My Life on the Plains, as well as on his own imagination, which was fulsome, since Whittaker was a professional writer of nickel and dime novel fiction for a leading publisher.

     Whittaker opens, “Much of Custer success has been attributed to good fortune, while it was really the result of a wonderful capacity for hard, energetic work, and a rapidity of intuition which is seldom found apart from military genius of the highest order,” and continues.  “Few men had more enemies than Custer, and no man deserved them less. The world has never known half the real nobility of his life nor a tithe of the difficulties under which he struggled. It will be the author’s endeavor to remedy this want of knowledge, to paint in sober earnest colors the truthful portrait of such a knight of romance as has not honored the world with his presence since the days of Bayard.”

     Whittaker writes, “…Custer’s invariable method of attack was the same which he adopted at the Big Horn, an attack on front and flank…from all sides if he had time to execute it….He counted much on the moral effect to be produced on an enemy by combined attacks and a cross-fire, and always found his calculations correct.  In fact only one thing could vitiate them.  This was the cowardice or disobedience in the leader of any of the fractions which were to work simultaneously….” According to Whittaker, Custer died because of Major Reno’s incapacity and Captain Benteen’s disobedience.  “Reno was ordered to ‘charge’: he obeyed by opening a hesitating skirmish and then running away.  Benteen was ordered to ‘come on; be quick.’  He obeyed by advancing three miles in two hours, and joining Reno in a three hour halt….he stopped, and let his chief perish.”

     Whittaker now turns to the testimony of one of the Indian scouts, Curly, who claimed to have escaped from the field of battle.  When Curly saw that the party with Custer was about to be overwhelmed, he begged Custer to let him show him a way to escape.  “…Custer looked at Curly, waved him away and rode back to the little group of men, to die with them.”  Why, Whittaker asks, did Custer go back to certain death?  “Because he felt that such a death as that which that little band of heroes was about to die, was worth the lives of all the general officers in the world….He weighed, in that brief moment of reflection, all the consequences to America of the lesson of life and the lesson of heroic death, and he chose death.”

     Whittaker’s biography of Custer molded the public’s perception of George Armstrong Custer for over fifty years, because it was endorsed and defended by Custer’s widow and her powerful friends and allies.  Elizabeth Custer was widowed at the age of thirty-four and spent the next fifty- seven years, until her death in 1933, glorifying and defending her husband’s reputation.  Only after her death did historians begin seriously re-examining the Custer legend.





Sun Tzu, the Master of War, once said, “Those who are skilled in producing surprises will win. In conflict, surprise will lead to victory. ” Here are four stories about the history of the world IF wars we know about happened differently or IF wars that never happened actually took place.

Including:
1.The Hostage, in which Abraham Lincoln is kidnapped by the rebels.
2.The German Invasion of America of 1889, in which Germany unexpectedly launches its might against the United States.
3.The Invasion of Canada 1933, in which the new American dictator launches a sneak attack on Canada.
4.Cherry Blossoms at Night: Japan Attacks the American Homeland (1942), in which Japan attacks the American homeland in a very surprising way.








Since his death along the bluffs overlooking the Little Bighorn River, in Montana, on June 25, 1876, over five hundred books have been written about the life and career of George Armstrong Custer. Views of Custer have changed over succeeding generations. Custer has been portrayed as a callous egotist, a bungling egomaniac, a genocidal war criminal, and the puppet of faceless forces. For almost one hundred and fifty years, Custer has been a Rorschach test of American social and personal values. Whatever else George Armstrong Custer may or may not have been, even in the twenty-first century, he remains the great lightning rod of American history. This book presents portraits of Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn as they have appeared in print over successive decades and in the process demonstrates the evolution of American values and priorities.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

The Normandy Campaign: June 6 to August 25, 1944


National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia


“Incentive is not ordinarily part of an infantryman’s life. For him there are no 25 or 50 missions to be completed for a ticket home. Instead the rifleman trudges into battle knowing that statistics are stacked against his survival. He fights without promise of either reward or relief. Behind every river, there’s another hill….and behind that hill, another river. After weeks or months in the line only a wound can offer him the comfort of safety, shelter, and a bed. Those who are left to fight, fight on, evading death but knowing that with each day of evasion they have exhausted one more chance for survival. Sooner or later, unless victory comes, the chase must end on the litter or in the grave”
General Omar N. Bradley, Commander US First Army.

June 6, 1944
On June 6, 1944 the Allies land in Normandy, on the north coast of France. Operation Overlord is underway.

June 7, 1944
Once ashore, the Allies must consolidate the immediate defense of the beaches and form a continuous front by expanding from them. The enemy fights stubbornly and is not easily overcome. In the American sector the marshes near Carentan and at the mouth of the river Vire hamper movements, and everywhere the country is suited to infantry defense. Normandy consists of a multitude of small fields divided by banks, with ditches and very high hedges. Artillery support for an attack is thus hindered by lack of good observation and it is extremely difficult to use tanks. It is infantry fighting all the way, with every little field a potential strong-point.

June 11, 1944
During the night, under deadly fire from American artillery, the Germans leave Carentan. The town is occupied, but the Germans soon counter-attack.

June 12, 1944
Due to heavy resistance, the US First Army has still not reached the line it was meant to occupy on day one of the landing. Allied units advance slowly both in the Cotentin Peninsula and south in the direction of St. Lo. In the first six days 326,000 men, 54,000 vehicles and 104,000 tons of stores have been landed.

June 13, 1944
A violent counter-attack by the German 17th Armored Division to recapture Carentan carries the Germans to the outskirts of the town before they are halted.

July 1, 1944
The headquarters of the US First Army issues a directive for a general offensive. This is to begin on 3 July with the US VIII Corps, west of the Cotentin Peninsula and extend progressively eastward to the rest of the Army.

July 3, 1944
At 5:30 A.M., in a blinding rainstorm, the American First Army launches the “Battle of the Hedges”.

July 5, 1944
Heavy fighting continues over the whole Normandy front.

July 6, 1944
The 83rd Division continues its slow advance to the south against fierce German resistance. Every forward unit suffers a steady drain of casualties from snipers, mortaring and artillery fire, which both sides employ daily to maintain pressure upon each other.

July 7, 1944
The 83rd Division faces opposition from two SS Divisions, the 2nd and the 17th Armored.

July 16, 1944
German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel reports that since 6 June his units have lost nearly 100,000 men killed, wounded and missing.

July 18, 1944
The US First Army enters St. Lo.

July 19, 1944
After capturing St. Lo the First Army pushes on southward. By the end of July, temporary or permanent losses from “battle fatigue” have reached twenty per cent of all American casualties since D-Day. Between June and November 1944, a staggering twenty six per cent of all American soldiers in combat divisions will be treated for some form of battle fatigue.
The after action medical report of First Army declared that: “...the rate of admission to the exhaustion centers… during the first weeks of operations was in accord with the estimate made previously, however, the rate thereafter increased to such proportions that it became necessary to reinforce each of the platoons operating the exhaustion centers. Reasons for this increase: a) addition of a number of divisions to the army in excess of original estimates, b) difficult terrain, mud, hedgerows etc., c) stiff resistance offered by the enemy in the La Haye du Puits, Carentan and St. Lo actions, d) troops remaining in combat for long periods.

July 31, 1944
Since 6 June the Allies have lost 122,000 men killed, wounded and missing, against German losses of 154,000. Before D-Day, American logisticians expected 70.3 per cent of casualties to be among the infantry. Actually, 85 per cent of casualties are among the infantry.

August 1, 1944
The US 3rd Army is formed under the command of General George S. Patton, who has four Corps, the VIII, XII, XV and XX. The XV Corps, under General Haslip, consists of two infantry divisions (the 83rd and the 90th) and the 5th armored division.

August 6, 1944
The XVth Corps is making swift progress toward Le Mans.

August 8, 1944
Le Mans is taken by the XVth Corps.

August 25, 1944
Paris is liberated by the Allies. The Battle of Normandy costs the German army 450,000 men. Some 240,000 of these were killed or wounded. The Allies suffered 209,000 killed or wounded.











Sunday, May 31, 2020

George Washington Starts a War




In 1754 the age old contest between Great Britain and France once again erupted into war. The so called Seven Years War was fought across several continents and the world’s oceans between the British and French, together with their European allies. In North America, the English colonies were locked in mortal combat with their age old enemy the French and their Indian allies. Some say that George Washington started the war at a place called Jumonville Glen in western Pennsylvania.









General George S. Patton once said, “Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.” Here are four stories about the history of the world IF wars we know about happened differently or IF wars that never happened actually took place.